Paul Hackett, head of inspections and assessments at AA Hotel and Hospitality Services, has been appointed managing director of Luxury & Boutique Hotels (LBH), a marketing consortium for independent luxury UK hotels run and operated by hoteliers Gregor and Claire Ritchie.
Hackett will join LBH, which operates under the Ritchies' parent company, management consultancy Optimum Hotel and Leisure Management, on 6 June. He has been brought in to help shape the brand, founded in 2020, which offers marketing and operational support membership to privately owned hotels seeking access to UK domestic leisure and corporate markets without the dependency on online travel agents.
On moving to LBH, Hackett has completed 23 years' service at the AA, having initially inspected accommodation in the Midlands, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire areas, followed by the south-east and London. He then took on a key account role, managing hotel groups and looking after their marketing needs within the AA, providing consultancy services and delivering training, before becoming an area manager.
For the past three years, he has headed the whole team of inspectors and assessors at the AA, co-ordinating all recruitment and inspector training and delivering training to key customers. He has also been a regular face on the AA's Hospitality Awards panel since 2017. He helped develop the AA's Covid Confident Scheme in 2019 and is a fellow of the Institute of Hospitality.
Hackett said: "After 23 very happy and memorable years at the AA, I leave to begin a new and exciting opportunity with LBH. During my time at the AA, I have learned a huge amount about the hospitality industry, have forged great friendships and built many professional relationships.
"By joining LBH, I hope to build on this further, and I am looking forward to working with Gregor and Claire in this extremely exciting business. We all share a vision and a passion for making a difference, both in terms of promoting excellent hotels and restaurants, but also in providing unrivalled help and support to the hospitality industry."
Gregor Ritchie, co-founder of LBH, added: "We are delighted and feel very fortunate Paul has taken on this new role of managing director of LBH. The plans to offer an unparalleled hotel membership consortium and, in time, one for restaurants, with Paul at the helm will create a platform that members will see huge benefits because of Paul's 23 years at the AA. The LBH membership model will centre on a relationship consultancy approach, not only helping to generate business but offering invaluable advice and guidance."